Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Joys of Summer begin to Return

If you live in a place where the seasons change, then you've undoubtedly heard them - the people who complain about the weather.  All summer long they complain about the heat, and the humidity, and there's too much sunshine - and the rain storms are too scary and what if it tornadoes for God's sake!??!  When fall comes you can hear them catch their breath and take in a big inhale - to give themselves more air to complain about winter.  It's too cold, too windy, the roads are too scary, I hate it when it's below zero, what if I get frostbite??!?!  Then another deep inhale in the spring, to get the wind to start the whole thing over again.

The Ranger approaches...
I'm out there all seasons, and I like when it changes.  When the weather stays the same for too long I get tired of it and welcome the next front with open arms.  But that doesn't mean that I don't NOTICE when those special irritations return as the weather warms up.  For instance, I have the first poison ivy of the year - a little area spread across my left forearm.  When in the woods I'd noticed the little stems with the tiny new red leaves coming up, and I knew what they were.  Yet somehow while doing trail work I still managed to get some on me.  Oh well, its not the end of the world.

Another thing I've notice is that the bugs are back.  Not many mosquitoes yet, or horseflies (thank God) but the little buzzy, annoying, fly-up-yer-nose things have returned.  And ticks - can't forget those little monsters - are going strong this year. But the thing I keep thinking about is the roses.  The wild roses didn't even really stop growing over this mild winter, and now they're just booming.  When I was at Moraine I noticed that every bit of undergrowth I could see was wild roses.  There is going to be a LOT of trimming of undergrowth this summer.

All that green undergrowth is wild rose.
But it's so great to get out in just shorts and a t-shirt, which is what makes summer worth the bugs and thorns.  I had a great ride out at Moraine on Friday afternoon, but my free time was limited so I had to zip out, get in as much riding as I could in a set time, then zip back.  Not really a problem, but it wasn't the great ride that I'd hoped for.  I did take a little bit of time and take video of one of my favorite rock features. 

The entry moves.
I forgot to bring the GoPro, so I set up the camera on the mini tripod and recorded it in five sections - which meant I had to ride it clean five times.  I had a couple of "unplanned dismounts" but actually got the whole thing done in just a couple of minutes.  It was Friday the 13th when I rode, so I edited a quick little video of that one rock feature.

Sunday morning we had a trail work day at the North Road Nature Preserve.  There were about 6 or 7 volunteers that showed up, so we got quite a bit of work done, mostly finishing up a new section of trail.  Eric cut a bunch more corridor near the old road, and we also moved in some more rocks.  Kenny was the staff photographer for the day, and took some great shots.

Sunday afternoon I got in a little bit of a gravel grinder out around West Branch.  I parked by the mtb trails, but since the park closes the trails until just before Memorial Day to keep people from rutting them up (though they aren't muddy at all right now I betcha) I kept on the road.  It was a nice little ride, with a couple of hills and some bumpy potholed roads.  The sun was out doing it's thing and I was loving it.

At the parking pull-off just past where I parked someone had abandoned a bunch of cats.  I checked them out while I was there and they seemed to be very friendly and in good shape.  It was hard to forget about them out there, so I ended up heading back out there to see if they were still there.  Sure enough, once I got back into the woods a bit I found them - except one kitten was missing.  So now we have a new kitten in the house (there was no way we could take all four of them).

The white one with the black "horns" is the one that came home with me.

Diana had mentioned a couple of times that she'd like to have a cat again, and I knew Kenny would love it, so we have a new pet.  I'm sure it will be all the fun that I remember (unfortunate heavy sarcasm).  Still, it is a sweet and friendly little cat.  Lets see if it meows all night...


  1. Before moving to the Park we lived just outside of town on a gravel road. People were forever abandoning their dogs and cats. The dogs I would round up and hold for animal control but we fed the cats. Leaving a household pet to its own devices is a terrible thing to do.

    Nice video. Did you see this one over at Drunk Cyclist?


  2. People are a heartless bunch sometimes. I'm trying to find someone who'd like another kitten or two, but no luck. And with the coyotes out there those remaining cats won't last long. Sad thing when you can't save the world, but we did manage to save one little cat.

    That video is awesome. I'm partial to the forests, but I have spent some time out in the desert. And that scenery in Antelope Canyon is surreal - so damn cool. I put that vid on my Vimeo favorites list. Thanks!

    Steve Z